August 1, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders told Joe Scarborough about his recent trip to Canada with a group of diabetics to buy affordable insulin.

"Joe, you may or may not know, a few days ago, I took a trip to Windsor, Ontario, in Canada with about 15 people who are dealing with diabetes. We purchased insulin in Canada for one-tenth of the price being paid in the United States.

"How unbelievable is that? And the reason for that, of course, is in this country, the drug companies can charge us anything they want for any medicine they want because they own the United States Congress."

Mike Barnicle jumped in.

"Let's stick with that. You become president of the United States, okay? January 21st, 2021, Medicare for All. You can't implement that in a single day. so a lot of people who voted for you would have employer-based health policies. and they like those health policies," he said.

"Let me tell you the problem a lot of people, I think, have with these policies. They are great. They give you a lot of comfort when you look at the policy, when you read about the policy -- until you check into a hospital and then, and then you walk into a casino when you are dealing with the pharmaceutical conglomerate. So on your first day in office, forget implementing Medicare for All, what can you do about the pharmaceutical lobby?"

"That is a great question, and let me answer it by saying this. I wrote the amendment that says that the American people should have the right to be able to take advantage of the lower cost prescription drugs in Canada. But what the drug companies were able to do is put a provision in my amendment that said, well, yeah, but that has to have FDA approval which is fine with me before we can implement the program. And, of course, no president has had his FDA approve the fact that we can, of course, reimport perfectly safe medicine from Canada." (Including Obama, who promised to allow it when he ran, too.)

"So what I will do is have my secretary of the HHS, Health and Human Services, and the head of the FDA, make sure that the medicine coming in from Canada or any other country is, in fact, perfectly safe. Not a hard thing to do. You are dealing with huge pharmaceutical industries. You can follow the product from its development in the factory to its warehouse back into the country.

"And when you do that, we can very substantially lower the cost of prescription drugs on Day One."

What most people don't understand is, the FDA already inspecs the manufacturing facilities of any company that imports drugs to the U.S. They've done it for decades, which is why we we know Big Pharma is lying whenever they cry crocodile tears about unsafe drugs.

If they really cared about unsafe drugs, they wouldn't have spent billions fighting a regulation (21 CFR ยง 11) that was put in place in 1997 by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. It imposed a verified audit trail on any computerized data that was required FDA reporting, and also required unique electronic signature. Basically, any changes made to the data would be time- and date-stamped with the name of the person who changed it. Why would you fight that, I wonder?

Kennedy explained the need for the requirement because they'd so frequently caught pharmaceutical companies faking data.

Anyway, if you're wondering if imported drugs are safe: They're as safe as the drugs that are made here. That may depend on whether there's a Republican in the White House, but imported drugs are at least as safe.

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